After 2 nights in Hervey Bay relaxing, on Friday morning, we packed the car and headed north towards Rockhampton. The drive took us through many cane growing communities and we even shared the road a few times with those huge machines that are used to harvest the cane. (Possibly leaving one farm and heading for another using the road; one contractor with the expensive machinery can cut cane for others who don’t have that equipment)
We didn’t see any cane trams on our trip; these are the quaint little narrow gauge trains that are used to transport the cut cane to the mills or to depots where the bins of cut cane are transferred to trucks and then the trucks take the cane to the mill. Many of the old mills are gone or closed and I guess that means the cane has to travel quite a distance to the mills still left operating and trucks must be more suited obviously. The main highway bypasses one important sugar town called Bundaberg or Bundy as it’s nicknamed. (famous for Bundaberg Rum which is distilled from sugar)
Heading slightly inland and north, DH and I stopped for brunch in a town called Childers. I love Childers, it’s such a lovely town full of life and a vibrant community. Childers is associated with a tragedy which happened in 2000. A backpacker hostel in the old Palace Hotel, was deliberately set fire to and 15 people lost their lives. The arsonist was caught and is in jail but the local community has honoured those who lost their lives in a memorial and have always welcomed relatives and friends of those lost in the fire with ‘open arms’. Being backpackers most of the victims were from overseas and a number of families have made a pilgrimage from places like the UK to see where it happened.
|The main street of Childers; the old palace hotel is in the middle of the photo. A new backpacker hostel has been built behind the hotel|
|What a clever name for a dentist!|
Our next stop was Calliope River at a little outpost type of place with a kiosk and a historical village. DH had a lie down on the bench seats in the picnic shed while I went into the kiosk to order a snack and a drink. We were both affected a bit by the heat...it was sure hot! of the highway.
We became aware as we drove along on our trip that a lot of government money is being spent on roads...some roadworks are repairs to flood damaged roads, others are making improvements especially to dangerous sections of the highway.
The road bypasses another main coastal city, Gladstone. Gladstone is a big industrial town with smelters and refineries. Residents complain of pollution problems and diseased fish caught in the harbour in recent times have caused some concern. Government scientists reckon the fish are safe to eat...residents are not so sure!
We arrived in Rocky (Rockhampton) mid afternoon and had a walk and a drive around the city. But I’ll tell you more about that in my next post...